On Thursday, July 28, individuals served by the Arc Nature Coast along with volunteers gathered at their campus on Mariner Blvd. to put together packages of supplies for Operation HeartF.E.L.T. (Feeding Empty Little Tummies) program, a local non-profit organization that supplies students in Hernando County with non-perishable food every weekend during the school year. The packages consisted of food bars, pencils, candy, and other items.
Participating in the work project were some members of the Spring Hill Rotary Club who support many of the Arc’s projects, staff at the Mariner Blvd. center, volunteers from the Interact Club at F.W. Springstead High School and from Walmart; Kerry Mauger, director of special projects at the national headquarters of The Arc in Washington D.C. Chick-fil-A provided lunch for the volunteers.
Kevin Towles, the Consumer Specialist with the Center for Independent Living was also present. The Center for Independent Living is a non-profit agency that covers more than sixteen counties in Florida. Its mission is to empower people with disabilities to achieve their goals for independence. One of the agency’s projects is a food program that distributes food to people in need. For example, in Hernando, they help out fifty of the Arc Nature Coast’s clients who either live independently or in group homes.
Tuesday, August 9 was the culmination of the project when Nancy Stubbs and Mark Barry, Chief Development Director and Executive Director of the Arc Nature Coast, respectively; and ten individuals served by the organization delivered the packages to the Operation HeartF.E.L.T. store room located at the Killingworth Plaza on the Rte. 50 bypass.
They arrived in a truck donated to the organization several years ago which they use to move residents to group homes, pick up donations and assist other nonprofits, among other things. The truck displays information about the Martin Luther King Day of Service which the Arc Nature Coast participates in.
They were greeted by Diane Dannemiller, a longtime volunteer with Operation HeartF.E.L.T. The goody bags will make a nice addition to the bags of food going home to children at the twelve public schools that Operation HeartF.E.L.T serves.
Projects such as this demonstrate that members of non-profit organizations are not always on the receiving end of help but often help other people in myriad ways.